#ELLEExclusive: Pragya Kapoor On Sustainable Living And A Conscious Lifestyle Change

Producer and environmentalist Pragya Kapoor is known for her sustainable and eco-friendly practices. After stressing the idea of zero waste at home, she started a foundation, Ek Saath- The Earth Foundation, a not for profit programme that works towards making the country more sustainable by undertaking initiatives such as beach rehabilitation, urban afforestation, waste collection as well as sanitization.

Pragya is also a representative for Brown Living – a sustainable and plastic-free online marketplace. It believes in environment-friendly practices and a waste-free approach. It’s a one-stop destination for those who want to make informed choices and shop consciously. Their idea is to build a community that promotes a waste-free and plastic-free lifestyle. In a conversation with ELLE India, Pragya talks about her personal journey towards sustainability and shares a set of guideline for those who wish to make a switch to the right side of life.

ELLE: What drove you towards making a conscious change in your own life?

Pragya Kapoor: Growing up in a country as Sweden allowed me access to an eco-friendly infrastructure around. It was like being raised in the very lap of nature. The values of reusing, recycling and managing our waste were implicitly ingrained in us. But it was only after I moved to a metropolitan like Mumbai did I realise the significance of those values. With no such sustainable culture prevalent here, it dawned upon me how the intimate equation I shared with nature in past years was always the result of a two-way street.

ELLE:What was the turning point and how did you do it?

Pragya Kapoor: There was a stark contrast in the relationship people shared with nature here. But this realisation remained largely latent until I became a mother. I’d say motherhood was the actual turning point for me. The bleak awareness of bringing up my kid in a world devoid of any harmony with nature seemed unacceptable. It triggered this ripple effect which made me start asking all the right questions that I’d been running away from in a bid to adjust with the system here. I wanted my kids to feel the same oneness with the nature around that I felt growing up. I wanted them to be grounded, feel close to the planet and have equal respect for all the other creatures. But it all seemed impossible in a concrete jungle like Mumbai. It used to upset me that Isana didn’t know how to climb trees and didn’t have access to a patch of green grass where he could walk around barefoot, it all seemed like an unattainable luxury. It’s difficult to develop a connection with nature when it’s nowhere around you. That’s when I began to retrace my old ways by switching to more eco-friendly products, segregating my waste, researching extensively on the subject and so on. So in a way it was my own childhood experiences combined with the riddled anxiety brought by motherhood that drove me to make this shift.

ELLE: What tips would you like to share with beginners who are looking for a conscious lifestyle shift?

Pragya Kapoor: Firstly, we as human beings can’t run away from the fact that sustainability and a circular economy is the only way forward, we can’t distance ourselves any further. Having that said don’t be too hard on yourself when you are trying to make the switch. It isn’t easy to become 100% sustainable overnight. It’s a gradual, enduring process. Give yourself time, even implementing smaller changes can help you go a long way. Be a wiser consumer. Today, there’s a sustainable alternative to almost every commodity we need on a daily basis. Know your waste, always be mindful of what you throw into your dustbin and know where it goes. What’s also equally important is to talk about it. The mission to conserve our planet is always going to be a team effort so it’s important to make the right noise about the difference you make to inspire others. What’s most important is to always be cognizant about our sensitive ties with nature- how every minute action from us inevitably affects our ecosystem at large. Once you’ve invoked this awareness in you, it would eventually start to translate into your actions.

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